The huge demand and insufficient supply has pushed up the price of honey products. Scientists reported that honey sells for as much as P350 per kilo; beeswax at P500; royal jelly, P150 per 10 grams; pollen at P2,000 per kilo; Apis mellifera nucleus hive at P4,000; and Apis cerana hive up to P2,500. Furthermore, studies have reported that we have spent billions on imported honey from 1989 to the present.
With an initial investment of 8,500 pesos which covers the production cost for the first year, the annual net return is 23,320.00 pesos (which includes cash and non-cash benefits).
Other than the income potential of beekeeping industry, honeybee products are known for their medicinal values. Among them are:
* propolis which has been called the "miracle drug" because of its antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral qualities and is used for many skin problems in both tincture and derma cream forms, including burns and other kinds of skin diseases;
* bee pollen is used for cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and pollination purposes;
* beeswax is a very useful material for making candles, floor and shoe polish, and facial cream;
* royal jelly produced out of honeybee is said to be an effective appetizer, thus it is believed to be an "elixir of youth;" and
* bee venom is used to cure rheumatoid and arthritis and serves as desensitizer for skin deseases.
The sunflower is the source of nectar which is essential in beekeeping, particularly in producing quality and premium honey. Other than sunflower, the honeybee culture can be established in areas where there are abundant plants as sources of pollen and nectar for the food of the bees. Some of the forest tree species which are good sources of pollen and nectars for the bees are Narra, Calliandra, Eucalyptus, Oak trees, Molave, Kamachili, Kakawate, Duhat, Rain tree, African tulip, Jacaranda, Ipil-ipil, and other forest trees.
Studies conducted locally and abroad show that honeybee pollination increases crop yield by up to 40 percent. In some plants (like sunflower), seeds are only produced when the flowers are cross-pollinated.
Cereal crops like corn and plants such as banana, mango, coconut, coffee, cacao, citrus, peanut, mongo, tomato, eggplant, etc. are favorites of honeybees. A marked increase in yield can be expected when these plants are pollinated by honeybees.
The best honey flow (when flowers are blooming and producing nectar) are from the months of November to December. From January to February, the colonies hibernate. The first build-up period of colonies starts from March until May. The flowering of coffee and eucalyptus trees, usually brings a mild honey flow. During the wet season from July to August, the bee colonies are usually brought to the lowlands where other sources of nectar are found.
Dr. Apolonio Sito
National Apiculture Research and Development Institute
Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU)
Bacnotan, La Union
Dr. Cleofas Cervancia
Institute of Biological Sciences
UPLB College, Laguna
Tel: +63 49 536-2553 Fax: +63 49 536-3673